College of Arts & Sciences

History - Graduate

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The History Department began teaching graduate students about a century ago. Its program has usually been one of moderate size. Admission is competitive, with eight to twelve students admitted each year. The department admits students to its graduate program who wish to obtain a free-standing M.A. degree, who have earned an M.A. degree at another institution and wish to earn the Ph.D. degree, and who hope to earn both the M.A. and the Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky.

Master's Program Description

Applications for admission are reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies and the department's Graduate Committee. Minimum Requirements: The department requires applicants to have a minimum undergraduate grade point of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and to have been a History major or to have taken twenty-four hours of History coursework (preferably at the junior and senior level).

The department usually considers courses in Classics and similar fields as coursework in History. Admission and Funding Decisions: Applicants are evaluated individually and in terms of the overall quality of the pool of applications. Often less than one-third of the applicants are admitted. Those applicants who are admitted -- and particularly those who are funded -- have usually earned a 3.5 GPA or higher as an undergraduate and have an even higher grade point in history courses. Most have scored in the 80th percentile or higher in one or more parts of the Graduate Record Exam and have a score of 600 or higher on the GRE's verbal section.

The department prefers to admit students to its doctoral program only if it is able to offer them funding. It also prefers to admit students to fields requiring a command of foreign languages only if the applicant has had significant training in one or more languages.

Master's Application Requirements

  • CV - The CV should indicate the applicant's education, qualifications for graduate study (such as language training), and other appropriate accomplishments.
  • Personal Statement - The Personal Statement should be a one- or two-page statement indicating the reasons for the applicant’s interest in graduate study at the University of Kentucky. It should indicate if the applicant is interested in obtaining a terminal MA degree, a PhD degree, or the MA and PhD degrees. It should also explain what field(s) the applicant hopes to concentrate on as a graduate student, and, if possible, with which faculty member the applicant wishes to work. Applicants should make intellectual and scholarly interests the focal point of these statements.
  • Writing Sample (Ideally the writing sample should be a research paper that demonstrates the student’s analytical abilities and skill in working with secondary and primary sources. The department encourages applicants who are engaged in writing a senior thesis or an M.A. thesis to send a portion of the thesis. Preferably, this document should not exceed 40 pages.
  • GRE
  • 3 letters of recommendation

Additional Requirements

The department asks applicants to submit a short book review (maximum of 600 words). If possible, the review should be of a book that has influenced the applicant's interest in the field or subject that the applicant wishes to pursue in graduate school. This may be uploaded along with the Writing Sample as one document.

Letter of Recommendation Instructions

3 letters - Applicants should obtain three letters of recommendation. Ideally, these should come from former or current teachers who have had the applicant in class.

Application Deadlines

Fall: Applicants who wish to be considered for fellowships, assistantships, or other forms of funding must complete the online application by January 10; Applicants who are not interested in being considered for funding must complete the online application and submit additional materials by February 15.

Applications are not accepted for the Spring and Summer sessions. 

Doctoral Application Requirements

  • CV - The CV should indicate the applicant's education, qualifications for graduate study (such as language training), and other appropriate accomplishments.
  • Personal Statement - The Personal Statement should be a one- or two-page statement indicating the reasons for the applicant’s interest in graduate study at the University of Kentucky. It should indicate if the applicant is interested in obtaining a terminal MA degree, a PhD degree, or the MA and PhD degrees. It should also explain what field(s) the applicant hopes to concentrate on as a graduate student, and, if possible, with which faculty member the applicant wishes to work. Applicants should make intellectual and scholarly interests the focal point of these statements.
  • Writing Sample - An important part of the application is a sample of an applicant's written work. Ideally this should be a research paper that demonstrates the student’s analytical abilities and skill in working with secondary and primary sources. The department encourages applicants who are engaged in writing a senior thesis or an M.A. thesis to send a portion of the thesis. Preferably, this document should not exceed 40 pages.
  •  GRE
  • 3 letters of recommendation

Doctoral Program Description

Applications for admission are reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies and the department's Graduate Committee.

Minimum Requirements: The department requires applicants to have a minimum undergraduate grade point of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and to have been a History major or to have taken twenty-four hours of History coursework (preferably at the junior and senior level). The department usually considers courses in Classics and similar fields as coursework in History.

Admission and Funding Decisions: Applicants are evaluated individually and in terms of the overall quality of the pool of applications. Often less than one-third of the applicants are admitted. Those applicants who are admitted -- and particularly those who are funded -- have usually earned a 3.5 GPA or higher as an undergraduate and have an even higher grade point in history courses. Most have scored in the 80th percentile or higher in one or more parts of the Graduate Record Exam and have a score of 600 or higher on the GRE's verbal section.

The department prefers to admit students to its doctoral program only if it is able to offer them funding. It also prefers to admit students to fields requiring a command of foreign languages only if the applicant has had significant training in one or more languages.


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